MadagascarA reader asked me if there is a Malagasy (Madagascar) solar deity. Since others may wonder the same thing I’m posting my reply here in an FAQ spirit.

Answer: None of my books on gods from Madagascar have a specialized solar deity, oddly enough. Here are four variations: 1) The Bara people of Madagascar have myths about how “The Sun Father” or just “Mister Sun” marries “The Earth Mother.” The Sun Father decides their children (human beings) should live with their mother on Earth because “their heads would catch fire” if they lived with him on the Sun.

In life they stay with their mother, who gets their bodies when the children die but the souls go back to the Sun Father (which is why corpses grow cold once the soul leaves it). Even this is not always a solar myth because to other ethnic groups on Madagascar it’s often just the god of the entire sky -not specifically a sun god – who marries the Earth goddess and the outcome is the same: when their children die the Earth goddess gets their corpses while their souls go back to the Sky God.

2) To the Tsimihety people of Madagascar the Sun (male) and the Moon (female) start out as close friends who are both always in the sky at the same time. The Sun always helps the Moon and protects her and her children – the stars. Moon one day attends a social event held by the Sky God and she accidentally causes the cock – Sun’s brother – to fall to the Earth, never to return.

The Sun is furious. He and the Moon argue so bitterly that they separate: the Moon and her star-children inhabit the night-time skies while the Sun inhabits the day-time sky and his rise each morning is greeted by the Earthly descendants of the cock. In some versions the Sky God mediates the dispute between Sun and Moon and assigns them their separate times of day.

3) To Madagascar’s Antanosy people the sun and moon are mere objects in the sky and both are stolen by their mythical figure Pitsatsalia as gifts for his child Rabe. As children do, Rabe eventually grows tired of these shiny new toys so Pitsatsalia sells the sun and moon for a fortune. The people he sells them to accidentally let them escape and return to the sky but Pitsatsalia refuses to refund their money.

4) Once Christian elements started mingling with native Malagasy concepts the Betsimisaraka people of Madagascar began depicting the sun (but sometimes the moon) as the site of the Garden of Eden from which Adam and Eve were exiled.



Leave a comment

Filed under Mythology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s